A Game of Thrones, Book #1 (A Song of Fire and Ice) by George R.R. Martin
This book has everything: lust, greed, envy, love, passion, hate, marriage, family, honor, incest, lies, deceit, and dragons - never forget dragons. The realm is suffering under a precarious rule of Robert Baratheon who spends far more time drinking and playing than he does ruling. Thus, he needs a Hand of the King he can trust; but it's never that easy as someone (not the Hand) always wants the Iron Throne. Through more plot twists than a game of well, Twister, a war rages across the seven realms for a chance to sit on the steely seat. As we are regularly reminded, "In the Game of Thrones, you either win or die..." And "all men must die" it seems.
I started reading the series because I am in love with the show. I wish I read it sooner - excellent writing, solid suspense, interesting characters. A must read.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Picture a circus that only comes to life in the dark with magic and mysteries unknown to the light of day. You spend hours searching through tents of charmed performances from tarot cards to contortionist to illusionists, but it's not an illusion, it's all real magic. The Night Circus is a journey steeped in the lives of two brilliant magicians pitted against one another in a fight to the death. But, as fate would have it, love blooms inside the poisoned flower and the two young magical soldiers must find a way to beat the curse burned into their souls.
The Night Circus is interesting and I enjoyed the characters very much. The plot can be a little confusing from time to time, after all, magic is involved, but Morgenstern does an excellent job painting a world beyond imagination. I didn't love the ending, but the twins Poppet and Widget made up for that. A solid first novel.